[YesAuto in-depth experience] When Ferdinand Porsche designed the first generation of the Beetle, he might not have thought that this national car in his mind would have been popular all over the world for dozens of years and set a sales record of more than 20 million. He did not even think that this car opened the history of two great car brands and provided them with fertile ground for growth. Today, let us gather three generations of beetles together and talk about their evolutionary history.
◆The first generation of Beetle (1938-2003)
The history of the first generation of the Beetle can be traced back to 1926, when Ferdinand Porsche, who was still the technical director of Daimler-Benz, was ready to design a small car that working class could afford. In the following years, Mr. Porsche's design failed several times due to financial problems. It was not until 1933 when Hitler proposed the concept of “national car” that the Beetle really found a suitable growth environment.
In 1938, the first generation of Beetle finally began its first small-batch production. This car was named “KdF Wagen” at the time, which was translated as “Happiness is Power” in Chinese. This car was originally priced at 990 marks, but it is not easy to buy it. Intended buyers need to buy tickets with a face value of 5 marks and paste them on the “KdF-Wagen passbook”. The passbook is equivalent to the order certificate. Due to the outbreak of World War II, the scheduled vehicles were not delivered on time, and the factory was shut down. Beginning in 1939, the Volkswagen factory switched to producing military supplies, and more than 330,000 KdF-Wagen orders could not be fulfilled.
After World War II, Germany was a waste of life. Although the conditions were difficult, the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg resumed production of the Beetle in 1945. During the 28 years from 1945 to 1972, Volkswagen produced more than 15 million Beetles. Not only won the world's highest sales throne of a single model, but also played a huge role in promoting Germany's post-war economic take-off. The continuous export of Beetles is regarded by the Germans as heroes and pride.
Beginning in the 1970s, the production of beetles began to gradually separate from the European continent, and Europeans’ love for beetles has not stopped. The German market has been importing beetles from Mexico until 1985, and there has been no unofficial import since then. Intermittent.
When the Beetle Mexico plant ceased production in 2003, its cumulative sales worldwide exceeded 21.5 million, creating a legend in the time and quantity of mass production of a single model. On July 30, 2003, the Mexican factory rolled off the last Beetle and shipped it to the Auto City in Wolfsburg, Germany as a permanent collection.
◆The second generation of Beetle (1998-2010)
At the American Auto Show in 1994, the Volkswagen Group finally released a concept car named Concept 1, and it was not until 1998, 60 years after the birth of the first-generation model, that the second-generation Beetle was officially launched.
The second-generation Beetle was put into production in Mexico under the name New Beetle. This car created a “retro-futuristic” design trend. The new generation of Beetle has transformed from a simple civilian car into an exquisite fashion car. However, the change of positioning and the changes of the times are destined to be unable to reproduce the glorious sales of the first generation.
◆The third generation of Beetle (2011-present)
On April 18, 2011, the third-generation Beetle model was released and the name returned to “Beetle”. If you only talk about history, this car has nothing to say. After all, it is still in the stage of making history. However, judging from its current sales in Germany, it only ranks 97th in the sales list, and it is difficult to sell hundreds of units per month. Escape the positioning of niche cars.
If you want to learn more about the history of the Beetle, I recommend reading Wang Kugong's “Over 70 Years of Endless Life-The Story of the Volkswagen Beetle” (click to read).
● Appearance Design
Fortunately, the new and old three generations of Beetles can be reviewed together, especially the first generation models. Although more than 21 million vehicles have been sold worldwide, there are very few old beetles in China. It should be said that the first generation of the Beetle was absolutely cutting-edge design at the time, so that in the 65-year history of the Beetle, Volkswagen has only improved its appearance in some details. More energy was put on improving the mechanical structure and process quality of the Beetle.
The above advertisements are all designed based on the classic appearance of the Beetle for ten years. From this we can also see the classic degree of the Beetle's design. If you think about the renewal frequency of the current models that you can't wait for a small change in a year, a big change in three years, and a replacement in six years, you can better understand that the Beetle is not easy to come by.
Some netizens have joked that models such as the Beetle, MINI, and Porsche 911 don't need designers at all, because their replacement models only change the proportions of various elements of the body. Here I have to complain for these designers. Design is like painting. A piece of white paper is best to play. On the contrary, it is more difficult to modify an existing work, especially when this work is a classic work like the Beetle. It's like attaching an arm to Venus or making a remake of “Dream of Red Mansions”. Under the classic aura, people tend to use a more demanding and even critical eye to examine new works.
The general direction of the design of the new generation model is always to innovate on the basis of maintaining the classic elements, so the retro elements such as round headlights, huge wheel covers, and arched roofs are naturally not to be lost. For example, the same round headlights, each generation model has a different look. The first-generation model is reminiscent of Garfield, who can't wake up, the second-generation Beetle is desperately selling cute like Kitty, and the third-generation model is more like a young guy, full of energy.
The evolution of the side of the body is the most emotional, and I can't even get many stable and sustainable opinions from people around me. If you just talk about the first impression, most people would prefer the symmetrical second generation, but after seeing the real car and looking at it for a week, many people turned to support the third generation. The second-generation models pay more attention to the application of semicircular geometric figures when designing. From the side, it looks like three rainbows outlining a car. The third generation reminds people of the Porsche 365. The low and flat posture will definitely attract more male consumers. Maybe after the Beetle develops for a few more generations, Volkswagen will produce it on the same platform as the Porsche Boxster.
The rear of the Beetle has always been the most frequent part of its evolution, even for the first generation models, the rear windows have undergone many revisions. The second-generation Beetle basically overturned the original tail shape. The oval tail light similar to the MINI was replaced by a round light. This symmetrical design is still very risky. In the third generation of models, the taillights have evolved again. In order to enhance the masculinity of the Beetle, the round taillights have also added sharp parts on the inside.
● Interior experience
◆The first generation beetle
The moment of sitting in the first generation of Beetle can not help but make people think about it. What kind of person was its first owner? Where has it been removed over the years? From the nameplate of the vehicle, we know that it was produced in West Germany, and it was the 2.158th 646th Beetle on the production line. After nearly 60 years of turbulent wind and rain, we actually met in a repair shop, which is also a kind of fate.
In my opinion, the source of the vitality of the Beetle is six words, simple, reliable, and cheap. This is somewhat similar to the legendary Santana and Jetta models in my country's auto market. The layout of the car is quite simple, and the only comfortable radio has disappeared after many years.
Except for the steering wheel, the handlebar, the light control mechanism, etc., which must be used to drive the car, its comfortable configuration is really pitiful, but it is this simplicity that makes the Beetle's low price. For the majority of wage earners back then, the Beetle was the model closest to their car dream.
◆The second generation beetle
If the first generation of Beetles excites me, it makes me unbelievable. Then entering the second-generation Beetle gave me a feeling of incompatibility, as if it made me swagger through the market in a pink dress. A discerning person can tell that I am not the owner of the car, or that I am a pervert at all.
I don't mean to be dissatisfied with the Beetle at all. On the contrary, I do think it will be very attractive to girls. Just like the owner of this car, it seems that Bai Fumei in our hearts is more in harmony with its aura. They treat the Beetle like a doll they loved when they were young, and they must help it dress up, so if you don't see a few Monkey and Hello Kitty patterns in the Beetle, it would be a strange thing.
I don’t know how many teenage car owners are satisfied with the interior of the Insect II, at least in my opinion, it is far less attractive than its appearance. The interior designer has tried to make every visible and tangible part into a circle, but in terms of color and exquisiteness, it still has room for improvement. I think this is the part I will focus on later. .
◆The third generation beetle
The experience of the first two generations of beetles is more like a nostalgia for a period of history, and the third generation of beetles we are going to talk about is the product we can buy now, so please forgive me for using more space to introduce it. .
The third-generation Beetle has a significant change in style, just like Hua Mulan braided up and prepared to join the army for her father. The second-generation car’s beauty-loving and lovely temperament has converged and replaced it with the oil temperature gauge, stopwatch and supercharger pressure gauge that are more common in performance cars. I think 99% of girls will not be excited because the pointer of the supercharger pressure gauge hits two bars, but this can make the male passengers swallow drooling and emotional.
If the white panel of the same color as the body is made of plastic, I think it’s understandable, but the black cover on the top of the center console is also hard to touch. It’s a bit unpleasant. After all, I spent almost twice the price of a golf. The interior is not as good as the former. The car owner may feel that the storage compartment in front of the co-pilot is not practical enough, but they don't know that this is a tribute to the classic design, inspired by the first generation of models.
The window switch that is not easy to use for the second-generation models mentioned above has been improved on the third-generation models. The retractable storage belt design on the door panel is also impressive. Its practicality is still very strong. Water bottles of all sizes can be put down steadily. The size of the skylight is large, but it is a pity that the open area is less than half.
◆The first generation beetle
The first-generation Beetle was designed to be able to take two adults, three children and their luggage. Ferdinand Porsche completed the task “rigorously”. Why did it use “rigorous”? Because after actual riding, it was found that adults cannot sit in the back row, and even girls may be uncomfortable.
At that time, the seat was not designed with a headrest, and the seat belt was invented only a few years after the car was produced. The active and passive safety configuration is almost zero. Think about it, people driving cars back then did require a certain amount of courage. In Germany, cars that have been produced for more than 30 years can apply for license plates for classic cars, without the need to implement the latest safety and emission regulations. I hope that China can also improve this system as soon as possible so that classic cars can be truly legal on the road.
◆The second generation beetle
The second-generation Beetle has made significant progress in space. The first thing that can be felt is the extremely bright head space, which is somewhat due to the rounded roof and symmetrical design of the third-generation models.
The back row is no longer exclusive to children and pets, even a 1.9-meter big man can easily get in and out and sit in it. Starting from the second-generation model, the rear seat has been changed to two seats, and a child safety seat interface has been added. These are the manifestations of the progress of the times. But to reflect on the current situation in our country, there are still so many people who drive without a seat belt, hold their children in the passenger seat, and do not know the function of the headrest. The cars they drive are modern cars, but their thinking is no different from those of people fifty years ago.
◆ The third generation beetle
As usual, let’s talk about three more generations, let’s talk about the seat first. The seat of the third generation of insects has good support and wrapping, but the parts that are raised on both sides are not so hard. It is a design that takes into account both comfort and support. The seating space is similar to that of the second generation, and the seat adjustment method is basically the same.
Compared with the second-generation models from the PQ34 platform, the third-generation insects using the PQ35 platform are closer to the ground in the driver's seat. The elongated roof curve does not bring about a qualitative change in the head space of the rear row, it is still only enough, but it is really fine to sit two adults, and it is not crowded.
Trunk space may not be the biggest concern of Beetle owners, but the third-generation Beetle did a good job in this regard. The volume of the trunk is not inferior to similar models, and due to the use of a hatchback design, its trunk has a large opening, which makes it extremely easy to enlarge items. The only problem is that the position of the handle is a bit high after the trunk lid is opened, which is inconvenient for girls to use.
● Power articles
In the evolution of the power system, there are many essential differences between the first generation models and the next two generations. For example, the first-generation models were rear-mounted rear-wheel drive, while the latter two generations were all front-front-drive models; the first-generation models were horizontally opposed engines, while the latter two generations were all in-line engines.
◆ The first generation of Beetle
In the decades of sales of the first-generation Beetle, the appearance has not changed much, but the displacement and performance of the engine have been continuously increasing. During the development phase, the 995ml engine had only 25 horsepower. In 1954, the displacement of the engine was increased from 1131ml (1.1L) to 1192ml (1.2L), and the maximum power was also increased from 33 horsepower to 40 horsepower. In 1966, the Beetle's engine was again increased from 1.2L to 1.3L. One year later, in 1967, the engine's displacement was increased to 1.5L again, and the maximum power was also increased to 50 horsepower. The last Beetle produced in the world has a displacement of 1584ml (1.6L), a maximum power of 50 horsepower, and a maximum torque of 98.1 Nm at 2200 rpm.
◆ The second generation beetle
The second-generation Beetle has equipped more engine models, and the total number of gasoline and diesel combined is close to 20. Among them, there are economical small-displacement engines such as 1.4L and 1.6L, as well as VR6 engine versions of 1.8T, 2.5L, and even 3.2L. The most common ones in China are mainly three displacements, namely 1.6L and 2.0L naturally aspirated engines and 1.8T turbocharged models.
◆ The third generation beetle
The third-generation Beetle, launched in 2011, currently has three TSI gasoline engines of 1.2T, 1.4T and 2.0T, and two TDI diesel engines of 1.6L and 2.0L. All of its partners are 6-speed manual and DSG dual-clutch automatic transmissions. box. In the US market, a 2.5L naturally aspirated engine is provided, and the corresponding gearbox is also changed to a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmission.
From the perspective of driving experience, the 1.2TSI engine of the third-generation model has a very significant improvement in performance compared to the second-generation 1.6L engine. Not only is the response speed of the throttle more sensitive, the supercharged engine is far stronger than the former in terms of low-torque performance. The 1.2TSI engine can still provide a powerful speed-up and push-back feel at a speed of 80 km/h, while the 1.6L engine of the second-generation model can basically only be described by meat.
● Car Owner
◆ The first generation of Beetle
The first-generation Beetle was called “The People's Car” in the overseas market. This is an economic car that everyone can afford and use. Due to the huge holdings and assembly and production in many places around the world, we can occasionally see the Beetle driving on the street overseas.
But in the domestic market, this situation is completely opposite. Since there is neither production nor large-scale introduction of this classic model in China, the total amount of the Beetle in the country is very small. At present, it is no longer a means of transportation, but is collected by classic car fans as a collection.
When I saw Mr. Li for the first time, I was quite surprised. The tall, sunny, handsome boy in front of me was actually the owner of the first generation of Beetle, which is quite different from the classic car collector in my impression. . However, after gradually getting to know Mr. Li, I feel that he is the most suitable home for the Beatles.
The classic car collection we understand may be that a wealthy person buys a valuable classic car, and then all related issues are taken care of by a dedicated person, and I just drive it occasionally and show it off. There are such bridge TVs, but in China, the market for classic cars is not mature, so most of the time, money can't solve all problems.
Collecting a Beetle in China requires not only financial strength, but also your love for classic cars and an understanding of car structure and car history. Mr. Li, who has been engaged in the auto repair industry for many years, not only has a wealth of auto repair knowledge, but also has his own excellent auto repair team. These experiences and resources have benefited him a lot from repairing this Beetle.
Collecting classic cars has been Mr. Li's dream since he was a child. As early as a student, he was fascinated by the beetle-based bumblebee in “Transformers”. After working, with his continuous understanding of automobile culture and history, he also gradually thought of two collection objects in his mind. One is the Beetle we see today, and the other one is in the background of the picture. The Great Red Flag”.
The beetle in front of it received a lot of internal injuries when it was received, and many parts were severely rusted, and the body color was sprayed black by the previous owner. In line with the idea of restoring the original appearance of the old car, Mr. Li completely dismantled the newly bought baby and renovated each part one by one.
For the parts that could not be refurbished, Mr. Li tried to collect the parts from abroad, so every time he returned from abroad, the boxes were often not clothes or specialties, but individual beetle parts. At present, this beetle is in the final stage of overhaul, and we have also made an appointment to visit again when the beetle is “resurrected”.
◆ The second generation beetle
The owner, April, and I have been colleagues for many years, but because of the different departments, we don’t communicate much. In the eyes of outsiders, April may be a typical Bai Fumei, a beautiful girl with a beetle, who goes in and out of the office every day, doing leisure work, and it seems that everyday life is to enjoy life.
In fact, in the car home group, not only the colleagues in the editorial department are working at full capacity every day, but also the colleagues in technology, marketing, and art are even worse. In order for new products to go online or for customer demand, it is commonplace to stay up all night and take up weekends. The day before I was interviewed, April was still working until one o'clock in the morning. After the interview, he would fly to Shanghai to interview new employees. For the production of this editorial article, she also had no complaints. She also expressed heartfelt thanks to her for her righteous deeds.
The Beetle was April’s first car. When buying a car, the Beetle and MINI were mainly considered. Because the price of the Beetle is cheaper and MINI already has a car owner in the company, I finally chose the Beetle. Strictly speaking, April is not a “worm fan.” However, after years of experience, it also knows about the three-generation Beetle models and knows that the first-generation models have huge sales and popularity worldwide.
For her car, April thinks that the shape design is the most attractive to her. The round and cute shape makes her feel very cartoon. As for the third-generation insect vehicle parked in the basement, she said that she did not call, and she was fortunate that she had sold the second-generation model very early. In her opinion, the elongated body of the new Beetle destroyed the symmetry of the current model and lost its cartoonishness.
After buying a car, April also drove many friends and colleagues' cars. By contrast, he also knew that his car had poor power and low configuration. She has no regrets about this. A car with too good power is not easy to drive, and it will be more stressful to drive, and the advanced configuration of many good cars is also in an idle state, and the frequency of use is not high.
The current Beetle basically drives by itself, so the two-door and 2+2 seats will not affect her use, but it adds a lot of convenience to daily parking. April’s Beetle has been driving for more than two years, and it hasn’t even scratched it once, let alone any minor problems. In her words, buying a car is actually very simple, just like it and suits you.
● Full text summary
After personally experiencing the three generations of the Beetle, I can better understand the difference between the original model and its successor. The simple, cheap but pragmatic characteristics determine its irreplaceable market position. It is practical but not lacking in fun. I think this is the real reason why it has become a classic.
Faced with the tremendous pressure of the first-generation models, the second-generation models performed a more feminine beetle for us. The symmetrical design and the round roof made girls love it. It may not be a legend in sales, but it has become a legend. The classic model of modern design.
The new third-generation Beetle is designed with more design elements of the first-generation models. It is more capable, more refined, and more economical. This third-generation Beetle will bring us. This car is no longer exclusive to women overseas, but a car that reflects their tastes by young people. The price of 19.88-29.98 million yuan is not much different from the previous model. It is still not “The People's Car”, but it does make men feel excited.
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